Greece History: The Period of Hellenism

Greece History - The Period of Hellenism

The period of Hellenism (until 31/30 BC): After the assassination of Philip II (336 BC), his son Alexander the Great had to put down an uprising of the Greeks (destruction of Thebes in 335), but with the already under his father decided war of vengeance against Persia (which Isocrates had already demanded) commissioned.

Alexander was able to fulfill this mandate with the liberation of the Greek cities of Asia Minor and the destruction of Persepolis. At the same time he extended his own power over Egypt and the former Persian Empire to the Indus, opening up a wide area of ​​settlement for the Greeks (the founding of cities by Alexander and the Seleucids) and a large economic area with a largely uniform currency. From then on, Greek history is no longer just the history of Greece and the Western Greeks, but also the history of the states of the successors of Alexander (Diadochi), shaped by the Greeks, that made up the Hellenistic world of states developed. A new field of activity opened up for the Greeks in the army and administration.

According to, the history of Greece itself has been influenced more and more by the Macedonian kings since 336. The attempt to liberate Greece after Alexander’s death failed in the Lamian War (323/322). Athens received an oligarchical constitution and a Macedonian occupation. Courted by the rival Diadochi with promises of freedom, some of the Greek cities were able to maintain a certain autonomy without, however, playing a major political role. In addition to Athens with its schools of philosophy (Academy, Peripatos, Stoa, School of Epicurus), Alexandria, Pergamon and Rhodes in particular became cultural centers (Hellenism). Politically, the federally organized Greek leagues gained in importance, especially the league of the Aetolians (Aetolia), which was founded in 279 BC. They were able to drive out the Celts who had invaded Greece, occupy Delphi and bring central Greece under their control, as well as the Achaean (Achaean) League (Achaia) and the League of Greek Islands (Nesiots), which first came under the protectorate of the Ptolemies, then the Macedonian kings and since 200 the Rhodian has stood. The Diadoche Kassander had Athens ruled from 317–307 by the Peripatetic Demetrios of Phaleron. His opponent Demetrios I. Poliorketes restored Athenian democracy in 307 and renewed the Corinthian League in 302. In the battles for Greece following the death of Antigonus I Monophthalmos (301 BC) and Kassander (297 BC), Pyrrhos I from Epirus and Demetrios I played Poliorketes (294–287 king of Macedonia) and after him Antigonus II Gonatas the leading role. Since then, Antigonos has been able to control Greece to a large extent, especially after his victory in the Chremonideic War (266–261?, Chremonides), but then lost large parts of the Peloponnese to that of Arat of Sicyon led Achaean League (251 liberation of Sikyon, 243 expulsion of the Macedonians from the fortress of Akrocorinth). Demetrios II, the son of Antigonus II Gonatas, fought unsuccessfully against Achaeans and Aetolians and was killed in the war against the Dardans in 229. At that time Athens was liberated from the Macedonian occupation that had been there since 263. The expansion of the Achaean League brought the Spartan king Cleomenes III. for standing, who abolished the ephorate in 226 and increased the number of Spartan full citizens from 700 to 4,000. Antigonus III joined him . Doson (229–221), who in 224 again founded a Hellenic League under Macedonian hegemony (including the Achaeans) and defeated Sparta in 222 near Sellasia in Laconia. His successor Philip V fought at the head of the Federation the Aetolians (220-217; Social War), but concluded peace since Hannibal’s victory in Italy induced him to join the fight against the Romans, through their intervention in Illyria (229-228) had violated his interests in the Adriatic.

In the 1st Macedonian War (215-205) the Aetolians were on the side of Rome for a time, and the Achaeans and other members of the Hellenic League on Philip’s side. After the undecided outcome of the war, Philip began to encroach on Thrace and Asia Minor and allied himself with Antiochus III, the great, against Ptolemy V of Egypt. Called for help against Philip by Pergamon and Rhodes, the Romans opened the 2nd Macedonian War (200–197). After the battle of Kynoskephalai (197) the Macedonians were driven out of Greece and T. Quinctius Flamininus proclaimed the freedom of the Greek cities in 196. In 192 the Aetolians called against Rome Antiochus III, the great, to Greece, who was defeated and had to give up in the peace of Asia Minor. In 189 the Aetolians had to expressly recognize the sovereignty of Rome. The attempt of the last Macedonian king, Perseus, to take advantage of the hostile atmosphere and to bind Greece back to Macedonia failed in the 3rd Macedonian War (171-168). After the victory at Pydna (168), the Romans divided Macedonia into four republics and seized a. Reprisals against Eumenes from Pergamon and against Rhodes. Increasing political and social dissatisfaction led to surveys of Macedonia (149) and the Achaeans. Macedonia was therefore declared a Roman province in 148, the Achaean League dissolved and its capital Corinth destroyed (146).

From then on Greece was completely subject to the Romans, initially as an annex to the province of Macedonia. The Roman rule and the penetration of Roman money people, who particularly settled on Delos (free port since 166 BC), brought progressive economic impoverishment. Athens, like other cities of Mithridates VI. from Pontus, was conquered by Sulla in 86. The city retained its importance as an educational center (also visited by Roman youth). Also Crete, whose piracy the Romans struggled to suppress, became 67 BC. Subjugated to BC and under Augustus united with Cyrene to form the Roman province of Creta et Cyrenaica. – The Greeks of the west were already in the course of the 3rd century BC. BC fell under Roman rule after the tyrant Agathocles (316–289) had once again brought Greek Sicily and part of southern Italy under his control. His legacy came to Pyrrhus of Epirus, but his rule in Sicily (278-275) was not permanent. The kingship of Hieron II(269–215) was restricted by the Romans to Syracuse and the plain of Leontinoi. With the fall of Syracuse (212) soon after Hieron’s death, the last independent Greek power in the west disappeared. – In Asia Minor the empire of Pergamon was already in 133 BC. By the will Attalos’ III. fallen in Rome. The last Seleucid Antiochus XIII. Philadelphus wasdeposedin 64 by Pompey, who made Syria a Roman province. 30 BC After the death of Cleopatra VII, Egypt was annexed by Romeas the last great Hellenistic state.

Greece History - The Period of Hellenism